The Effect of Parents on an Adolescent's Choice of Career

By Rebecca Mayglothling
Working moms affect kids differently than stay at home moms.
Working moms affect kids differently than stay at home moms.

Parents have a significant effect on the choices made by adolescents. As the primary role model for your youngster, you influence his morals, ideas, outlook on life and what he wants to be when he "grows up." This is a heavy burden, but is one that every parent carries. Parents directly contribute to certain factors in a adolescent's life when it comes to career choices.

Relationship of Parents

The relationship between the parents will form the adolescent's career goals. A study completed at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama found that traditional gender roles play a part in an adolescent's career choice. For example, if Mom stays at home, females are more likely to have lower career goals than their peers with working mothers. Alternatively, the family with masculine figures will raise boys with higher career goals. The study determined that the relationship between the parents -- specifically how adults interact with each other -- affects the career choices of the children.

Parental Careers

By the same token, parental careers influence children. If Mom is a high-powered executive, the kids will have higher career goals, according to research published in 2006 in the "Journal of Extension." Dads also have an influence -- hard-working dads who consistently better themselves through job advancement or schooling will raise children with similar high career aspirations.

Communication Between Parent and Adolescent

The amount of time parents spend talking to their children will make a difference in the career goals of the child, suggest the "Journal of Extension." Parents who communicate openly with children are able to talk about careers, choices and the child's future. Children who listen to parents share information about their jobs are more likely to set higher career goals. Communication, or lack thereof, will help determine the career path of the child. Parents who communicate very little with their children might raise children who set lower career goals.

Ideals of Parents

The ideals of the parent also set the tone for the career choices of the adolescent. According to Bettina Lankard, writing for the "ERIC Digest," family processes and ideals greatly affect the child's choice of career because children view the family values as concrete. If a family does not value education, the child might choose a vocational career. If a family is hard-working and hands-on, the child might choose a shorter college career in exchange for a life in construction or other technical trade. Finally, if a family holds education as the highest standard, it is most likely the child will attend college and choose a career based on that experience.

Activities Chosen for Adolescents by Parents

The activities parents choose for their children will shape who they will be as adults. For example, the child who is sent to camp every year may choose a career surrounded by people. The child who is pointed toward quieter activities might choose a career in the arts or work in an another more solitary job environment. The adolescent activities will shape what the child enjoys doing and what she will do with her future.

About the Author

Rebecca Mayglothling has worked directly with toddlers and preschoolers for more than three years. She has published numerous lesson plans online as well as parenting and teaching advice. She continues to keep ahead of parenting methods and is eager to share them through her professional writing.